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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

NYU: The Role of Built & Online Social Environments on Instagram Expressions of Dining

A study, titled “Role of the Built and Online Social Environments on Expression of Dining on Instagram,” and co-authored by Dr. Rumi Chunara, assistant professor of biostatistics at New York University School of Global Public Health, was published by International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Online social communities are becoming windows for learning more about the health of populations, through information about our health-related behaviors and outcomes from daily life. At the same time, just as public health data and theory has shown that aspects of the built environment can affect our health-related behaviors and outcomes, it is also possible that online social environments (e.g., posts and other attributes of our online social networks) can also shape facets of our life. This study investigates the role of the built and online social environments in the expression of dining on Instagram in Abu Dhabi in an attempt to better understand “digital determinants of health.”

Findings indicate that there is a relationship between attributes of the built environment and Instagram posting behavior. Further, those relationships vary by attributes (types of built environment locations, times of day) and can be mediated by the social environment. As a result, the online social environment can act as a mediator of the relationship between the built environment and expression of dining on Instagram. These results are important in uncovering the relationship between the physical/built environment, social environment and our food posting behaviors, which can be helpful to inform the design of health-promoting technologies.

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